What does a medieval literature scholar see in 'Game of Thrones?'
From PBS Newshour: Brantley Bryant, associate professor of medieval literature at Sonoma State University, shares what he sees of The Canterbury Tales, the Morte d'Arthur and Beowulf in HBO's "Game of Thrones."
Bruce Holsinger and Nancy Bilyeau talk about historical fiction
Bruce Holsinger and Nancy Bilyeau, two of the leading medieval novelists, had the chance to meet up in New York City and have a conversation about writing historical fiction, how they went about researching their novels, and what stories and styles influenced their writing.
For example, Bruce says to Nancy "you flesh out those aspects of daily life with remarkable skill, without a lot of hand waving or showing off of historical details. I actually struggled a bit with this at first. I knew the medieval period in terms of its literary history, but in terms of the details of everyday life, that was a brand new learning experience. I had to go back and relearn a lot of what I thought I knew. There are so many passages in the literature that will tell you about, say, the food at a feast, but I never really paid attention to those until I had to figure out what people ate in a scene I was writing."
Nancy replies, "Exactly! I was never happier than when a curator at the Tower of London scanned in a diet sheet of an aristocratic prisoner in the 1540s and sent me a PDF. I had every detail down to how many pigeons eaten a week."You can read their conversation from The Daily Beast
Nancy Bilyeau's latest book is called The Chalice
- we will have a review about it on Medievalists.net very soon! Bruce Holsinger's novel is called A Burnable Book
Kickstarter Campaigns seem to be very popular for medievalists! The latest one has Jim Rodda trying to raise $5000 to develop a Medieval Barbie outfit. He has already raised about $4000 for his project, which you can read more about here
The campaign has attracted a lot of media attention, including this video report:
Jacques de Molay, Templar, died on this day in 1314
Today marks the 700th anniversary of the execution of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar. For many historians this day marks the unofficial end of the Templars, the military monastic order that for about two hundred years defended Jerusalem and the Holy Land for Roman Catholics. Dominic Selwood
, the resident historian at The Telegraph,
has penned a good account of the story of the fall of the Grand Master and his brethren. He writes:
To draw down the final curtain, on the 18th of March 1314 the four most senior living Templars were hauled to Paris. On a rostrum erected on the parvis before the great cathedral of Notre-Dame, they were publicly condemned to perpetual imprisonment. Hugues de Pairaud and Geoffroi de Gonneville accepted the sentences in silence. But Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney stunned the crowd by talking over the cardinals and professing their innocence and that of the Temple.Click here to read his full article
The electrifying news was rushed across the city to King Philip at the Louvre. Desperate to crush this dangerous new defiance, he abandoned all legal procedures and ordered the two old Templars to be burned without delay.
While the Knights Templar was destroyed in the fourteenth-century, their notoriety and story would continue on to the present day. In his article, Your Conspiracy Theories Began 700 Years Ago Today
, Paul Fain notes that their mantle would be taken up by many others. For example:
The early Freemasons claimed ties to the Templars, despite a gap of a few hundred years between their creation and de Molay’s death. A dubious link to the old-school warriors apparently gave them some street cred.
The Templars also made an appearance in the news last week. Mexican police killed Nazario Moreno, the leader of a drug cartel that used the name Knights Templar. According to Time, Moreno’s followers wore white robes and kept statues of him wearing medieval armor. It’s unclear where he hid the Holy Grail.
You can find a lot of information on the Templars - books, video games, even cheesy documentaries like this one:
You can find some articles about the Knights Templar
on Medievalists.net. Check out also these accounts about the founding of Templars
from De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History.
Angry Birds goes medieval?
Has the ridiculously popular game Angry Birds gone to the Middle Ages? From this teaser video it looks like we might soon see a new version of the game in which Red, Chuck, Bomb, Terrance and other feathery friends are hurled at the bad piggies who have stolen their eggs.
Since it was first released in 2009, Angry Birds and its various spinoffs, which includes versions based on Star Wars and a Go-Kart racing game, have been downloaded more than two billion times. A feature film based on the game is in production and is scheduled to be released in 2016.
It seems this game will be first released in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We will keep you up-to-date on when it comes out.